A wet track at Randwick on Saturday could be the testing material for Harlow Gold in the Group 1 $1m James Boag’s Premium Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on day two of ‘The Championships’.
Lindsay Park co-trainer David Hayes is not over confident that Harlow Gold will handle the wet ground this weekend even though the Tavistock filly finished third behind Montoya’s Secret and Nurse Kitchen on a heavy 9 surface in the Group 1 $500,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 25.
“I would prefer it not to be wet. She got through at Rosehill, but Randwick is a different wet than Rosehill,” Hayes told racing.com.
“Randwick is more sticky so I would prefer it to be dead (soft) or better but I might be dreaming.”
“If we get a reasonable track she will be very competitive.”
Harlow Gold rounded off her Australian Oaks preparation with a gallop at Randwick on Tuesday morning and Hayes said that she was not at home on the wet surface.
“It was pretty heavy out there and she wasn’t comfortable out there,” Hayes said.
“It was only maintenance work, it was her final hit out, she had a good blow.”
The Randwick track was rated a heavy 9 on Wednesday morning after receiving 68.4mm of rain in the last seven days with the Bureau Of Meteorology forecasting more showers for the Sydney area in the lead up to the weekend.
Hayes, who trains in partnership with his son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig, reported that Harlow Gold has come through her run in the Vinery Stud Stakes in great order and will have no trouble running out a strong 2400m after finishing second to Lasqueti Spirit in the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington during the 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Lasqueti Spirit set a scintillating pace in the Crown Oaks and Hayes can see the Lee Curtis trained filly adopting the same tactics in the Australian Oaks.
“Pulled up very well and she will stay and it will be a hard run mile and a half with the obvious leader in the race (Lasqueti Spirit) and she will stay,” Hayes said.
Vinery Stud Stakes winner Montoya’s Secret has gone amiss but Harlow Gold will be taking on runner up Nurse Kitchen again in the Australian Oaks.
The David Brideoake trained Nurse Kitchen made up plenty of ground from the back when a neck second in the Vinery Stud Stakes and will be stepping up to the 2400m for the first time in the Australian Oaks.
Harlow Gold has drawn barrier twelve in the fourteen horse Australian Oaks field with Mark Zahra taking over from Regan Bayliss on the $5 chance who is on the second line of betting at Ladbrokes.com.au behind the Kiwi filly Bonneval as the $4.20 favourite while Nurse Kitchen is also well in contention at $5.50.
Bonneval is the winner of her last three starts in New Zealand and has come across the Tasman following her victory in the Group 1 NZ$300,000 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 18 and will give co-trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman a chance to win a second three year old classic over ‘The Championships’ after Jon Snow won the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick last Saturday.